A 6-year-old boy and a 20-year-old man died while three other children and four adults were severely hurt in a crash along a wet road in the Wissahickon section of Philadelphia late Sunday afternoon.
On Monday police identified the two victims who were killed in the accident as 6-year-old Eric Barksdale-Perez and 20-year-old Zaire Ross-Wilson.
Barksdale-Perez and Ross-Wilson were both passengers inside a 2005 Gray Mazda 6 that was traveling northbound on the 4200 block of Henry Avenue just before 4 p.m. Sunday. An unidentified driver, 25-year-old woman, 7-week-old baby girl, 23-year-old woman, 5-year-old boy and 4-year-old boy were also inside the car at the time. Police say the driver crossed into the southbound lanes and was struck by a second vehicle occupied by two adults.
The impact caused the three adults and four children in the vehicle that veered into traffic to be ejected, said police. No one in that car -- aside from the baby in the car seat was buckled in.
"It's never advisable not to be restrained to begin with," Philadelphia Police Accident Investigation Capt. John Wilczynski. "This is very unfortunate, you see the devastation that occurred as a result of not being restrained in the back of that vehicle."
Barksdale-Perez died at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children a short time later. Ross-Wilson, who was in the backseat, died overnight at a hospital.
The baby girl was also taken to St. Christopher's and was in critical condition Monday morning. The other two children also remained in critical condition Monday.
The other victims of the crash were taken to Einstein and Temple hospitals, police said.
Two off-duty police officers who happened to be driving in the area at the time stopped at the scene and assisted the victims. One of the officers also went into the ambulance with one of the injured children. Other Good Samaritans also stopped and helped the victims before medics arrived. Derek Johnson, a student at nearby Philadelphia University, saw the chaotic aftermath of the crash after getting a call from his girlfriend.
"People were laying facedown," he said. "When we were talking to one of the tow truck guys he said they were trying to resuscitate two of the children. There was about eight ambulances that came and left."
Officials continue to investigate the cause of the accident though they say DUI is not suspected nor was excessive speed.
"The roadway was wet," said Wilczynski.
Witnesses told NBC10 the stretch of road where the crash occurred includes a curve that is particularly dangerous during rainy weather. Residents in the area as well as a state representative have lobbied PennDOT to make safety changes to the area.
Henry Avenue was closed for several hours after the accident. It has since been reopened.